Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration

March 28, 2013
Author:
Buzz Aldrin, Leonard David
Publisher:
National Geographic (5/7/2013)

In a new book from National Geographic, celebrated astronaut and bestselling author Buzz Aldrin boldly advocates continuing exploration of our solar system. In Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration by Buzz Aldrin and Leonard David, Aldrin lays out his goals for the space program and how he believes we can get humans to Mars by the 2030s, a vision shared by President Obama and one that is fortified by private industry and international cooperation.

In the book, which includes a foreword by Aldrin’s son Andrew, Aldrin makes the case and argues passionately for pushing our boundaries of knowledge and exploration of our solar system and presents his “unified space vision.” Aldrin discusses the history of space flight, including a reflective, not nostalgic, look at the people, technologies and steps that were taken to accomplish America’s Apollo moon landings, and plots a course of future exploration. He says “Do not put NASA astronauts on the moon. They have other places to go.” And he emphasizes that the path forward is not a competition; we cannot restart an engine to rerun a race we previously won. This is a controversial notion that causes significant division among astronauts.

Aldrin is honest in his critiques of space policy, discussing the economic, political, technological and other issues of viability of various options. It is a personal book in which he discusses his family, especially his father (whose impact on Aldrin is particularly striking); his own life, including his time in the Korean War; his initial rejection by NASA (he was one of the only astronauts who did not start as a test pilot, but as an MIT engineer); his eventual journey to the moon; and his hopes and frustrations. He even calls out large aerospace contractors for a lack of transparency with NASA and admits that he made a big mistake in the 1970s by not being more vocal about his displeasure with the initial design that preceded the Space Shuttle.

Mission to Mars uncovers an intimate side of Aldrin, while spotlighting some of the most important issues facing our nation’s space program today.

Kindle version also available at this link